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The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Vaughn , Nicholas McWhirter
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $29.99
Kindle Price: $15.29
You Save: $14.70 (49%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

The debut title in the Anthony Bourdain Books line, The Prophets of Smoked Meat by “Barbecue Snob” Daniel Vaughn, author of the enormously popular blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ, is a rollicking journey through the heart of Texas Barbecue.

From brisket to ribs, beef to pork, mesquite to oak, this fully illustrated, comprehensive guide to Texas barbecue includes pit masters’ recipes, tales of the road—from country meat markets to roadside stands, sumptuous photography, and a panoramic look at the Lone Star State, where smoked meat is sacred.



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Stomachs will ache at the thought of cabeza de vaca (cow’s head), beef clod (beef shoulder), or barbecue brisket (among other delicacies). Undeterred, architect and barbecue fanatic Vaughn, along with photographer Nicholas McWhirter and occasional sidekicks, did a hunting, gathering, and tasting journey throughout Texas to find the best barbecue. Out of the 186 places sampled, only 5 made his best list; the journey to him, though, is worth it. Beginning with the universal definition of barbecue as simply seasoned meat cooked to tenderness over hardwood smoke, the author not only delivers a running commentary on the goodness (or lack thereof) of the proteins, sides, and desserts, he also gives an almost-native’s perspective on the culture. Joints close when they run out of meat, often at 2 p.m., sometimes earlier. Fat counts: The value of well-smoked fat cannot be understated. So do desserts; there’s nothing better, Vaughn states, to counteract protein overload than a bit of something sweet. At the end, 20-ish pit masters are singled out for the specialties (mutton ribs, anyone?), providing quasi-recipes (details on meat, rub, wood, pit, fire, cooking time, it’s done when . . . suggestions, resting, and other pro tips) with the assumption that you’ll know how to interpret this shorthand. The first in a series of Anthony Bourdain–branded books. --Barbara Jacobs

From the Back Cover

The comprehensive, must-have guide to Texas barbecue, including pitmasters' recipes, tales of the road—from country meat markets to roadside stands—and a panoramic look at the Lone Star State, where smoked meat is sacred

Brisket. Spareribs. Beef sausage. Pulled pork. From the science of heat to the alchemy of rubs, from the hill country to the badlands, The Prophets of Smoked Meat takes readers on a pilgrimage to discover the heart and soul of Texas barbecue.

Join Daniel "BBQ Snob" Vaughn—host of the popular blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ and acknowledged barbecue expert—and photographer Nicholas McWhirter as they trek across more than 10,000 miles to sample the wood-smoking traditions of the Lone Star State's four distinct barbecue styles:

  • East Texas style, essentially the hickory-smoked, sauce-coated barbecue with which most Americans are familiar.
  • Central Texas "meat market" style, in which spice-rubbed meat is cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood, a method that originated in the butcher shops of German and Czech immigrants.
  • Hill Country "cowboy style," which involves direct heat cooking over mesquite coals and uses goat and mutton as well as beef and pork.
  • South Texas barbacoa, in which whole beef heads are traditionally cooked in pits dug into the earth.

Including recipes from longtime pitmasters and new barbecue stars, The Prophets of Smoked Meat encompasses the entire panorama of Texas barbecue. Illustrated throughout with lush, full-color photographs of the food, the people, and the stunning landscapes of the Lone Star State, The Prophets of Smoked Meat is the new gospel of Texas barbecue, essential for neophytes and seasoned experts alike.


Product Details

  • File Size: 37349 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco; 1 edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NF77Z4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,272 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You need to understand what you're getting May 22, 2013
Format:Hardcover
OK, here's the book in a nutshell: The author and a friend or two jump in the car each weekend and drive to as many different Texas barbecue joints as they can reach in the time they have, take a lot of pictures, and eat pretty much the same thing (brisket, hot links, and ribs) at each place. Then he writes about what they did or didn't like. Mostly what they didn't, because they seldom find anything that measures up to their standards. Apparently most BBQ places in Texas these days make good onion rings and peach cobbler, and that's about it. That's not an insult to Texas BBQ, but an observation that according to Mr. Vaughn, almost nobody does it right anymore. Of course that can be said about almost anything, anywhere. (As a personal aside, I love all kinds of barbecue, but how anyone could eat five excellent combo plates, let alone five *mediocre* combo plates in a twelve hour period is unfathomable to me.)

I expected a lot of interviews with pitmasters, old-timers and the like but it seems that at most places the guy who knew what he was doing is long dead and the current owners are relatively hapless. There is little here in the way of secrets, recipes, behind the scenes knowledge, or classic stories and legends. And apparently a shocking number of the places they stopped closed down shortly thereafter.

The writing is fairly straightforward and quite amusing at times. The photography is excellent, although the author appears in most of the photos, so you kind of get to feeling like you're watching Uncle Harry's vacation slides after a while.

This is not a bad book if you understand what to expect. That said, I can say I enjoyed reading it once (from the local public library) but it won't find a place in my permanent collection.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK FIT FOR A BBQ CONNOISSEUR May 16, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was a bit different from what I expected. Most of the books on BBQ have been dry and straight forward. This book trully chronicles an experience that I would love to have. The duo set there journey going all over the state and tasting the mediocre to the amazing. Texas is really an amazing place when it comes to the BBQ culture. Traveling just one-hundred miles can give you very different results. The photos help tell the story and this book is a very easy read. This is not necessarily a recipe book but the author gives a good idea what goes into most of the food. This book has helped inspire me even further to continue improving my meat smoking methods. I would recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about barbecue.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what writer was trying to get across June 4, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My review....1 star for finishing the book, having been in the writing profession in the past I know its difficult work writing and finishing a book. 1 star for the photos. That's it! If you are looking for something that goes into the culture of Texas BBQ....keep looking. I make my living as a caterer specializing in cowboy cooking and Texas style BBQ. I have read MANY books about BBQ that go beyond standard cookbooks. Nothing in this book will tell you anything about what Texas BBQ is, only what it is not. Texas BBQ is the most difficult of all regions and styles of BBQ. Why? because its all about the meat and smoke.. not rubs or sauces. Instead of profiling cooks and the methods they use and BBQ history... the book from the start is an never ending snobbish rant on the failures of Texas BBQ. I kept thinking that it would get better, however I suffered through page after page of negativism, forcing myself to keep reading. Unfortunately, it does not. BBQ has deep cultural roots in America, this book does its best to ignore that.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak Sauce June 5, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I got this book for a gift. I do quite a bit of cooking and enjoy barbecue and barbecue culture. Off the top of my head, here are three books of a similar genre that are better than this doorstop:

Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country

BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America

Peace, Love, & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue

At the broadest level, the writing in Prophets has all of the passion, style, and enthusiasm of a Yelp review, and many of the grammatical errors and typos. This book is hundreds of pages of "I went here, I ate this. The pie was good. The brisket was disappointing. Moving on." That last bit is an actual sentence: Moving on. With a few exceptions, it's difficult to tell that the author spent much time talking to the owners, fellow patrons, or folks from the towns. Compared to Smokestack Lightning, the writing is just dull. There's no overriding narrative here or even some good individual stories. Just a glutton and his friend packing it in day after day. I couldn't tell you a single thing I learned from this book.

All of this would be ok if there were recipes. BBQ USA is a huge book with tons of recipes that still manages to be a better read than Prophets. You get the feeling that Steven Raichlen spent the time with the folks he visited, swapped stories, and observed their operations with a researcher's curiosity, not a collector's desire to check something off his list.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read if you love REAL BBQ.
I love Texas BBQ, and not only that but I love learning about the places and stops along the hundreds of miles of roads that I have never traveled. Read more
Published 8 days ago by 22415 brewery
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Makes me want to go tour for the meat!
Published 2 months ago by Carol M Bass
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved being part of Vaughn's Roadtrip!
This is an amazing book. I really couldn't it down, sitting with a map on my computer screen so I could follow the details of Vaughn and photographer McWhirter's marathon road... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael A. Karchmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Tasty Book!
Published 3 months ago by William Merkle
2.0 out of 5 stars Give me maps!
I just received this book as a birthday gift, and am about 100 pages into it. Major flaw: lack of contextual maps. Read more
Published 4 months ago by T. F. Welsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Texas, Texas BBQ, Barbecue, Smoked Meat
If you love Texas BBQ, you must have this book! A great read. While it can be repetitive, it will introduce you to the best BBQ options anywhere in the huge state of Texas, and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Russell Kyncl
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning this is not a cookbook
When I bought this book I thought it was a step by step cookbook that I could make legit recipe's from instead it is a documentary inside the U. Read more
Published 5 months ago by mike 67
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing BBQ adventures!
Fantastic and literally inspirational book. The reading of it resulted in an immediate central Texas BBQ roadtrip adventure to some obscure and not so obscure destinations. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mark B.
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I was expecting more useful information on techniques and recipes.
Published 5 months ago by Hugh E. Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting book.
Published 5 months ago by L. A. Cathey
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More About the Author

Daniel "BBQ Snob" Vaughn is an expert on Texas barbeque with an extensive history of palate-shaping journeys across the Lone Star state. He is the author and editor of the respected blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ and a columnist for Texas Monthly. A trained and practicing architect as well, he lives in Dallas with his wife and children.


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